It's been over a decade since Super Meat Boy released and we finally have a sequel but does it offer a bloody good time? Let's find out.
I absolutely loved the original Super Meat Boy and remember how amazing it felt when I finally completed it. Since then, there have been many games that tried to copy its formula yet few managed to live up to its tight and challenging gameplay. So, you can imagine how excited I was to play Super Meat Boy Forever and now that I have, I'm happy and a bit disappointed with what it has to offer. First, it doesn't exactly follow the classic's gameplay because it's an endless runner. This means that you don't control Meat Boy left and right as he automatically runs forward yet he can change direction after leaping from a wall. I found this formula to be quite jarring at first but as I began to master stages, I started to enjoy my time with it much more although it doesn't quite reach the highs of the original.
Super Meat Boy Forever's gameplay basically involves tapping 2 buttons: one for jumping and punching and another for sliding and diving. Just like in the first game, the challenge relies on your ability to avoid hazards as you carefully time jumps but the difficulty here can be much more irritating than the original for the simple fact that Meat Boy is perpetually moving so you have less control over him. One of the most annoying ways to bite the dust is accidentally leaping off a wall only to have Meat Boy change direction then run to the left side of the screen which kills him instantly. Why can't I tap a button to turn him around? Why does the screen kill him? I don't know the answers but I do know that these sorts of game design decisions are archaic and needlessly frustrating.
Besides the unfortunate reliance on memorization as well as trial and error, Super Meat Boy Forever contains an impressive amount of variety that makes its campaign consistently feel fresh. Whether you're using keys to unlock gates, dodging a saw as it clears the way forward, punching your way out of an enemy, or fighting a grueling battle with a boss; there's a ton of fun to be had throughout the dozens of stages within Super Meat Boy Forever. Some of the mechanics are more enjoyable than others yet they all come together to form a cohesive and surprisingly intuitive gameplay formula. On top of that, the levels are actually jumbled up and laid out randomly. I wouldn't go as far to say that they're procedurally generated because they consist of premade segments that are merely sequenced differently but it's cool nonetheless as you can play through multiple times and have a slightly different experience each time.
One aspect about Super Meat Boy Forever that's awesome is that it includes 20 fully animated cutscenes that star Meat Boy, Bandage Girl, and their baby Nugget. These feature the familiar gross humour that fans have come to expect and they're pretty funny to watch, especially if you're familiar with the classic game cutscenes that are being parodied in some of them such as the opening of Super Mario RPG. There are 18 characters to play as, too, and you'll have to unlock most of them. Of course, if you really want to show off your skills then the Dark World returns which contains a much more challenging set of stages. Beating those is a task fit for a gaming guru.
Super Meat Boy is a genuine classic that has stood the test of time and contrary to its title, I don't think Forever will. It still offers challenging and rewarding gameplay but its core mechanics sometimes make for a patience-testing and tedious affair.
- + Challenging and enjoyable endless runner gameplay with some cool mechanics
- + Fantastic unlockable cutscenes
- + Loads of variety and replay value
- - Some aspects of gameplay aren't handled well and can be intensely frustrating
- - Although there's a lot of variety, the core gameplay gets tedious at times